Saturday, May 24, 2008

SAR #8145

The US wastes 55 percent of the energy it consumes.

Retraction Pending: Energy Secretary Bodman: "The high-priced energy environment is being driven by the fact that demand has outstripped supply ... and there is no silver bullet that will immediately solve our energy challenges or drastically reduce costs at the gas pump."

Calling A Spade: The Senate Banking Committee thinks anyone in the real estate/mortgage business should be fingerprinted as though they were common criminals. Let me point out that we generally wait until after they've robbed the Grab and Run to fingerprint criminals. And no, it is not an ivasion of privacy; Herr Chertoff has decided that fingerprints are not "personal data".

Poorcast: NOAA predicts an "above normal hurricane season." Or possibly average. Hurricane predictions have a track record similar to economists and Wall Street analysts.

Queuing Up: When Goldman Sachs turns out to have been right and a barrel of crude reaches $200, the cost of the crude in a gallon of gasoline will be $4.76. Add in the costs of refining, distribution, state and federal taxes, and a little profit for the Grab & Run, and the numbers on the pump will approach $6.99. Later this year, if Goldman's right.

Acid Oceans: Greenhouse gases are turning the oceans acidic enough to dissolve the shells of sea creatures decades earlier than predicted.

A Good Idea, or Two: Taxing the very rich, especially investment bankers and hedge fund managers, is an appealing idea. . While they are both "scandalous' and "a social scourge ", there seems to be growing suspicion they are also criminal - if only in the sense that most CEOs these days are stealing from the shareholders.

Bronx Up, Battery Down: The CPI is up, while the PPI is UP. And the difference (CPI-PPI=profits) is getting smaller. This suggest appears to be "a precursor of a structural negative shift in corporate profitability, i.e. lower profit margins." I just love economist-speak.

Surge: The Pentagon has misplaced or mis-paid so much money in Iraq that they don't even know if it is $8 billion or $10 billion that's missing. They don't seem able to explain the following payments: $68.2 million to the United Kingdom, $45.3 million to Poland and $21.3 million to South Korea.

Pitchfork Parade: The United States is not going to peacefully split into two strata - with 5% living in gated communities, driving around in SUVs, throwing lavish parties, while the rest of the population are unemployed, living in abandoned cars and houses without running water. Not, that is, as long as the pretense of representative government exists.

Not Saved: According to the Energy Department, drilling in ANWAR would, after four or five years of development, lower the world price of crude by about 75 cents.

401 not OK: The Controller of the Currency says that if you are planning on using your home equity as a retirement fund, don't. And if you happen to own a bank, the accelerating losses on home equity loans means banks must build reserves to withstand the increasing losses. Returning to some sort of standard requirement before loaning money strikes him favorably, too.

Porn O'Graph: Dueling house price indexes, here .

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